A Semi-Epic Journey in Three Parts. Prologue About three years ago, I set the somewhat-random goal of riding the Continental Divide Trail, south to north. Though I can’t recall the exact reason for choosing the CDT, I’m pretty sure that inmate bwanajames’ inspirational “Mexico to Canada on Dirt” ride report had something to do with it. His style was relaxed and approachable, humble guy on a big bike. No hero shit. My hero days, such as they were, are past. My racing resume includes finishing a couple enduros at the back of the old-and-slow class after DNF’ing in a handful of others, and being beaten by a grandma in the only trials event I ever entered. In my defense, grandpa was coaching her on line choice. Of course there have been many other great CDT riders and reports, but to my mind the well-spring of CDT knowledge has to be Cannonshot’s “A CannonRide Down the Great Divide,” from 2010. It is so packed with details, tracks, history and info that I’m surprised he isn’t still on the trail trying to finish it. I used his tracks and, with a few exceptions here and there, the info is still spot on. You try riding all those miles and documenting it thoroughly. No small task. I have a new appreciation for your contributions, Mr. Cannonshot. Many thanks. Last year’s CDT attempt was shelved due to some disease you’ve probably heard about. The year before … I honestly can’t remember. But I do recall that one year’s hiatus involved record snowpack in the Rockies, double or triple the usual amount. Here’s the snag about the CDT: You have to avoid BOTH the monsoon season in New Mexico AND the snows at higher elevations in Colorado and points north. If it rains on you in the remote regions of New Mexico, you might as well pitch a tent because you aren’t getting through. Locals will warn you of this in very stern tones. Signs will warn you of this in very stern wording. Bike-swallowing ruts etched into bone-dry roads will warn you of this even in the dry season. Stock image for dramatic effect: Monsoon season kicks off mid June and runs until September. My strategy was to leave as close as possible to the beginning of monsoon season, avoiding the rain but giving the snow in Colorado a chance to melt. Spoiler alert: It worked. I got lucky. My wife was supposed to join me on the trip, but she had a little low-side incident on one of our practice runs a few weeks before launch that sidelined her. I’d recently left a cushy state gig with the loose idea of freelancing from here on out to make this trip, so I had to push on solo. I was a little nervous about it, certain I’d be mauled by a bear (it happens on the CDT) or overshoot a corner and sail off into oblivion, but when the doubt crept in I’d remind myself of a simple truth: You’re going to die. With luck not on this trip, but death is our collective destiny. I’d like to think that when Atropos cuts my string, I will have at least made an effort to do less office sitting. You, dear reader, are going to die too. Take courage from that cheerful thought!